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Hinduism

Hinduism

Hinduism was formed around 4,000 years ago and is the world’s oldest surviving religion.  It was started in Northern India.

What do Hindus believe?

Hindus believe it is more important what you do than what you believe.  They believe in a universal God called Brahman.  Brahman takes many forms and these are Gods and Goddesses in their own right.  The main God/ Goddesses are Brahma - the Creator, Vishu – the Preserver, and Shiva – the Destroyer.  They also believe that there is part of Brahman in everyone.
Hindus believe everything has a soul and that you are reborn, reincarnated, many times.  You may be reborn in human, animal or plant form. Hindus believe that the soul passes through a cycle of lives and its next incarnation is always dependent on how the previous life was lived.
The spiritual goal of a Hindu is to become one with Brahma
 
Who is the founder?

Hinduism does not have a founder, single teacher or any prophets.  It was started out of Brahminism.   It is the practices of a variety of different religious groups which come out of India.

Symbols in Hinduism
The main symbol of Hinduism  is the Aum, the sound heard in deepest meditation.

Where do Hindus Worship?

Hindus worship at home or at a Mandir.  At home Hindus have a small shrine where they can make offerings to a God.

What is the sacred text (holy book) of Hindus?
Hinduism does not just have one sacred book but several scriptures: Shruti –that which is heard and Smriti – that which is remembered.

What are the central beliefs in Hinduism?

There are 4 main goals in a human life:

  • Moksha - the release of the soul from the cycle of rebirth, by following one or all of the different paths: knowledge, meditation, devotion, good works.
  • Dharma - the code for leading one's life.
  • Artha - the pursuit of material gain by lawful means
  • Karma- through pure acts, knowledge and devotion, you can reincarnate to a higher level, or if bad to a lower level.

There are 3 basic practices in Hinduism:

  • Worship
  • Cremation
  • Following the caste system

Many Hindus go on pilgrimages to rivers, temples, mountains and other sacred sites in India.  These are important places as they are where Gods/ Goddesses have been seen.

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